Greenfield High School (File Photo)

GREENFIELD — Students at both Greenfield and King City high schools returned to campus for in-person learning last week, and in addition to the switch from the previous school year’s virtual format, the leadership has also changed.

At the top level, Jordan Mulder has been named interim superintendent for South Monterey County Joint Union High School District. Formerly the director of special education, Mulder was invited into the role after prior superintendent, Brian Walker, resigned at the end of last school year. 

Mulder had accepted a one-year appointment as interim superintendent; however, the school board must select a permanent superintendent by the end of 2021 in order to avoid being subject to state oversight. 

If that were to happen, a state administrator would be appointed by Sacramento, as happened when the district went into state receivership in 2009.

Board President David Gaboni said the board was ready to offer a full-year contract to Mulder, beginning July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022. But on Aug. 6, Duane Wolgamott objected that the board had not made a full effort with due diligence to search for a candidate, and that any short-term leader would be in a position to make long-lasting financial decisions for the district. 

Gaboni noted the summer is a time districts are advised not to search for permanent superintendents, due to the candidate pool being diminished.

At the two main campuses within the district, there has been a shuffle in leadership.

Janet Matos will be principal of GHS this year, after having been in the lead previously at KCHS. Edward Van Hoose will remain as the assistant principal.

Michael Gray will be principal at KCHS after having previously served as vice principal at that campus. Former GHS principal John McKenzie will shift over to KCHS as vice principal.

At the end of last school year, the teacher’s association put in a vote of no confidence in their principal and assistant principal. Gaboni said the Covid-19 pandemic delayed how the district would respond, as it was not a standard school year, so the principals at both campuses finished out the school year before Mulder reorganized leadership for the 2021-22 school year.

Gaboni said that personnel were not let go and new personnel were not hired in order to give existing leadership an opportunity to succeed. He called Matos and Gray “superstars” that were put in the roles in which they were needed.

“We’re the same district, we’re not separate,” Gaboni said. “We’re one district and we need to be on the same path. That’s what Dr. Mulder brings to the table.”

Students will also have ongoing construction projects at their campuses. 

At GHS, the new science wing is 85% complete and is scheduled for completion and use by the second week of September. At KCHS, the new agriculture building is 65% complete and scheduled for use by the beginning of February 2022.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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